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WCPS one of three systems in state to meet AYP goals

September 22, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Public Schools was one of three public school systems in the state of Maryland to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress at every school during the 2008-09 academic year.

Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is used primarily to determine the annual progress that students make in reading and math. It is a measurement defined by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

"I think that is a pretty extraordinary accomplishment," said Jeremy Jakoby, supervisor of testing and accountability for Washington County Public Schools. "Of 24 jurisdictions (in the state), we are one of three systems that had all elementary, all middle and all high schools attain AYP."

The public school systems in Kent and Worcester counties were the others that met Adequate Yearly Progress at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

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To meet Adequate Yearly Progress, elementary schools across the state were given a target of scoring 74.2 percent proficiency in math and 76.5 percent proficiency in reading. The proficiency rates in Washington County were 89.1 percent in math and 89.6 percent in reading.

The state proficiency targets for middle schools were 64.3 percent in math and 75.9 percent in reading. In Washington County's middle schools, the math average was 83.9 percent proficiency and the reading average was 86.6 percent proficiency.

Washington County high schools averaged 94 percent proficiency in math and 84.7 percent proficiency in reading. Those scores were well above the state's Adequate Yearly Progress targets of 56.1 percent proficiency in math and 65.8 percent proficiency in reading.

The targets for Adequate Yearly Progress increase each year. For example, the 56.1 percent proficiency target that high school students were given in math during the 2008-09 school year will increase to 64.9 percent proficiency this school year. The goal is to have all students score 100 percent proficiency by 2014.

Clyde Harrell, director of high school education for Washington County Public Schools, said the targets are set higher each year so school systems strive for increased achievement.

Harrell said school systems that don't meet Adequate Yearly Progress standards are placed on improvement status, meaning school officials must develop a new plan to attain Adequate Yearly progress that has to be approved by the state.

"We're happy we're doing the right thing at this point," Harrell said. "We hope to meet the challenges next year."

Harrell said the last time Washington County Public Schools met Adequate Yearly Progress at the elementary, middle and high school levels was the 2005-06 school year. That level of achievement also was attained in 2004-05, Harrell said.

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